Eighty-nine candidates, including 27 incumbents, are seeking election to seats on 16 Southeast Los Angeles County school and community college boards on Tuesday.
Issues range from the seemingly trivial--like the need for towels after gym class at one school--to more weighty problems of drug abuse, spending and fluctuating school enrollments.
In three districts--El Rancho Unified School District, Little Lake City School District and Lowell Joint School District--incumbents are not being challenged.
Here is a rundown of key races:
ABC Unified School District--Twelve candidates are competing for four board seats, including two vacated seats. Two longtime members of the ABC Board of Education, Elizabeth Hutcheson and Dianne Xitco, are not seeking reelection.
Homer Lewis, 56, is seeking his third four-year term on the seven-member board. Lewis, a project engineer with TRW in Redondo Beach, said he "will work to ensure that the superintendent has the staff and resources needed to be successful. I will also work to increase the awareness that ABC is a great district to live and work in."
He said he will spend about $3,000, most of it his own.
Incumbent Richard Arthur, 59, is a teacher at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles and a part-time professor of education at Chapman College in Orange.
Arthur said he is running against candidates "who sound like they are anti-teacher. I'm pro-teacher." He said he wants to raise salaries of ABC teachers. He criticized "people who want to be rubber stamps for the administration."
He said he would spend about $2,000 in the campaign.
Carlos Navejas, 37, is endorsed by Arthur, who says Navejas would be independent of the district administration.
Navejas served as a city councilman in Hawaiian Gardens between 1976 and 1980. His wife, Kathleen Mello Navejas, is currently vice mayor of Hawaiian Gardens.
Navejas, a real estate broker, said he is concerned that no one from Hawaiian Gardens is on the board. He said if he is elected he will focus on having money spent by the district to upgrade the schools the Hawaiian Gardens.
The ABC Federation of Teachers has endorsed Navejas, who said he will spend about $2,500 on his campaign.
Julie Hanson, 43, a medical assistant for a Cerritos family physician, also was endorsed by the teacher's union. She has been active in school affairs for 14 years, especially the district's Parent-Teacher Organization. All of her children, now grown, attended ABC schools, Hanson said.
Combating drug and alcohol abuse among students is her No. 1 priority, Hanson said. She is president of the Cerritos chapter of ICAAN, which stands for Involved Community Against Alcohol and Narcotics.
Hanson said she probably will spend about $5,000 on her campaign.
Bob Hughlett, 40, director of programs for the disabled at Cerritos College, said he is calling for long-range planning for the ABC district.
John H. Moore, 39, said the most important issues are the threats of alcohol, drugs and gang activities.
"I'm not trying to alarm anyone. But I think a little preventive maintenance would help," said Moore, an account manager with Oscar Mayer Food Co. in Los Angeles.
Moore is vice president of Involved Community Against Alcohol and Narcotics. He said if he is elected he would call for more campus security and increased patrols by the Sheriff's Department. He said he expects to spend about $2,500.
Dixie Primosch, 42, is running for the school board for the first time after years of active involvement in district affairs. Primosch is a long-time critic of the district administration. She was a member of a group of parents--including candidates Jim Weisenberger and George Medina--who requested a county Grand Jury investigation last year into alleged mismangement in the district.
The Grand Jury turned up no evidence of wrongdoing but suggested the appropriate forum for such complaints about the district was the ballot box.
Primosch said her main issue is the district's lack of a master plan. "There is no plan in fiscal, capital improvement or policy planning," she said. "A five-year master plan would evaluate each school, look at the strengths and weaknesses."
Primosch runs a home computer programming system with her husband, Tom. She has raised $4,186, according to the latest financial statements filed with the county registrar-recorder's office.
George Medina, 50, is running for the board for the second time, after an unsuccessful attempt two years ago. Medina, president of his own audit and management consultant firm in Buena Park, is critical of the district for what he calls "a lack of accountability."
He said "a responsible board would hold the administration accountable. There is a lack of leadership on the board." Medina said he would call for a review of all fiscal policies to identify unnecessary expenditures and push to develop a system to measure the productivity of administrators. He said he also would allocate more money in the budget for textbooks and supplies.